Findings.co July 2023 cybersecurity and data breaches roundup

July Data Breach Roundup

As we navigate the relaxing summer season, it’s important to note that just because half the world is on pause, doesn’t mean hackers are too. While those who are relaxing and not paying much attention, these attackers are sweeping their ways into their supply chains and causing damage. Luckily, automation helps, and catching vulnerabilities in your supply chain with our Assessment and Audit AI features will help you stay on track. 

 

This month’s blog arrives hot on the heels of an important announcement from the SEC. They have mandated that public companies must now report data breaches within 4 days of discovery. This new regulation comes at a critical time as the MOVEIT vulnerability continues to wreak havoc, causing significant disruptions in recent months.

 

July proved to be a challenging period for cybersecurity, with major players like Deutsche Bank, Genworth Financial, and Maximus falling victim to the consequences of data breaches. While numerous breaches occurred throughout the month, I will focus on the most noteworthy ones to glean valuable insights and lessons from.

 

Continue reading to discover other prominent names  that experienced security breaches, along with crucial information you should be aware of. Stay informed and learn from these incidents to protect your own data and systems.

 

  1. HCA Healthcare Experiences Breach

 

HCA Healthcare, a prominent hospital and clinic operator, recently announced that it has experienced a significant cyberattack, compromising the data of over 11 million patients. This unfortunate breach has raised concerns about the security of sensitive patient information and highlights the urgent need for better data protection measures in the healthcare industry. Just last week, IBM’s Cost of a data breach report came out proving that costs are escalating in healthcare breaches. The average cost of a studied healthcare breach reached nearly $11 million in 2023, a 53% increase since 2020. Cybercriminals targeting healthcare organizations have made stolen data more accessible to downstream victims, making medical records a high-value leverage point.

 

What Happened?

 

HCA Healthcare discovered the breach on July 5,2023, when a sample of stolen data was posted online by the suspected hacker. The company believes that the attack targeted an external storage location primarily used for email message formatting. As an immediate containment measure, the company disabled user access to this location.

 

Who Was Affected? 

 

Patients from 20 states, including California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, have been affected by the breach, which ranks among the largest healthcare data breaches in history. The compromised data includes patients’ names, partial addresses, contact information, and upcoming appointment dates. Additionally, information such as email addresses, telephone numbers, date of birth, and gender was accessed by the hackers.

 

With the scale of this data breach impacting millions of patients, HCA Healthcare faces a significant challenge in safeguarding sensitive information. As investigations continue, it serves as a reminder to healthcare organizations to strengthen their cybersecurity protocols to protect patients’ data and maintain their trust in an increasingly digital world.

 

  1. Rite Aid Data Breach Exposes Customer Information

 

Rite Aid, a popular pharmacy chain in America, recently announced a data breach that may have exposed personal information of its customers. The breach, caused by an unknown third party exploiting a software vulnerability, occurred on May 27. Although sensitive data like Social Security numbers and credit card numbers were not accessed, Rite Aid is taking proactive steps to address the situation and notify affected customers.

 

The Breach Incident:

 

On May 31, one of Rite Aid’s vendor partners informed the company about the data breach. In response, Rite Aid took swift action by updating its systems and the vendor’s software to prevent further exploitation of the vulnerability. During this process, the company discovered that specific files containing customer information had been accessed during the breach. The information accessed by the unknown party included the following:

 

  • Patient First and Last Name

  • Date of Birth

  • Address

  • Prescription Information

  • Limited Insurance Information

  • Cardholder ID

  • Plan Name



The Rite Aid data breach serves as a reminder that security assessments are essential for catching vulnerabilities, whether it be your direct company, or your vendors. While the company has taken swift action to address the situation, affected customers should remain vigilant and take appropriate measures to protect their personal information. 



  1. A New Malware is Making Headlines

 

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has reported the discovery of a new malware strain known as Submarine, which was used to backdoor Barracuda ESG (Email Security Gateway) appliances on federal agencies’ networks. 

Barracuda provides services and products to over 200,000 organizations worldwide, including prominent entities like Samsung, Delta Airlines, Kraft Heinz, and Mitsubishi.

 

The attack was carried out by a suspected pro-China hacker group known as UNC4841 and involved exploiting a now-patched zero-day vulnerability.

 

In May, a series of data-theft attacks was detected on Barracuda ESG appliances, but it was later revealed that the attacks had been active since at least October 2022. The attackers utilized the CVE-2023-2868 remote command injection zero-day to drop previously unknown malware named Saltwater and SeaSpy, as well as a malicious tool called SeaSide. These were used to establish reverse shells for easy remote access.

 

Barracuda took an unconventional approach last month by offering replacement devices to all affected customers at no charge. The decision came after the company issued a warning that compromised ESG appliances needed immediate replacement, rather than just re-imaging them with new firmware, as they couldn’t guarantee complete malware removal.

 

Now, CISA has disclosed the existence of the Submarine malware, also known as DepthCharge by Mandiant, the incident response division of FireEye. Submarine is a multi-component backdoor residing in a Structured Query Language (SQL) database on the ESG appliance. It serves various purposes, such as detection evasion, persistence, and data harvesting.CISA’s malware analysis report stated, “SUBMARINE is a novel persistent backdoor that lives in a Structured Query Language (SQL) database on the ESG appliance. SUBMARINE comprises multiple artifacts that, in a multi-step process, enable execution with root privileges, persistence, command and control, and cleanup.” The report also mentioned that sensitive information was found in the compromised SQL database.

 

In response to Barracuda’s remediation actions, the threat actors employed the Submarine malware as an additional measure to maintain persistent access on customer ESG appliances. Barracuda maintains that the malware was present on a small number of already compromised ESG appliances. Barracuda’s recommendation to customers remains unchanged. Those with compromised ESG appliances should discontinue their use and contact Barracuda support to obtain a new ESG virtual or hardware appliance.

 

CISA has warned that the Submarine malware poses a significant threat for lateral movement within affected networks. 

 

  1. Estée Lauder Faces Data Breach and Ransomware Attack

 

Estée Lauder recently experienced a data breach and ransomware attack, but the company has been tight-lipped about the specifics of the incident. The beauty giant acted proactively by taking down some systems to prevent further expansion of the attack on their network. It appears that the CL0P ransomware gang gained unauthorized access to Estée Lauder by exploiting a vulnerability in the MOVEit Transfer platform used for secure file transfers. The threat actor took advantage of the vulnerability when it was still a zero-day in late May and claimed to have breached numerous companies for the purpose of data theft and extortion.

 

On their data leak site, the Clop ransomware gang publicly listed Estée Lauder as one of their victims. The gang criticized the company, accusing them of neglecting their customers’ security. They claimed to have over 131GB of Estée Lauder’s data in their possession. Another ransomware group, BlackCat, also added Estée Lauder to their list of victims. However, unlike Clop, BlackCat expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s silence in response to their extortion emails. BlackCat attempted to initiate negotiations with Estée Lauder by reaching out to their corporate and personal email addresses but received no response from the company.

 

Notably, BlackCat claimed that they did not encrypt any of Estée Lauder’s systems, but they threatened to reveal more details about the stolen data unless negotiations were initiated. The potential exposure of sensitive information could affect customers, company employees, and suppliers. The attack has caused significant disruption to parts of the company’s business operations, as stated in their SEC filing.



  1. Google Cloud Build Vulnerability Raises Supply Chain Attack Concerns

 

A vulnerability in Google Cloud Build, known as Bad.Build, has raised concerns about potential supply chain attacks for organizations using the Artifact Registry as their primary or secondary image repository. Security researchers from Orca Security and Rhino Security Lab independently reported the issue.

 

Orca Security researcher Roi Nisimi highlighted that the vulnerability allows attackers to escalate privileges by exploiting the cloudbuild.builds.create permission. This could enable attackers to tamper with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) docker images using artifactregistry permissions and run code inside the docker container with root privileges.

 

After the issue was reported, the Google Security Team implemented a partial fix by revoking the logging.privateLogEntries.list permission from the default Cloud Build Service Account. However, this measure didn’t directly address the underlying vulnerability in the Artifact Registry, leaving the privilege escalation vector and the supply chain risk still intact.

 

Google Cloud Build customers are advised to modify the default Cloud Build Service Account permissions to match their specific needs and remove entitlement credentials that go against the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) to mitigate the privilege escalation risks.

 

Supply chain attacks have had far-reaching consequences in recent cybersecurity incidents like the SolarWinds, 3CX, and MOVEit attacks. Therefore, organizations using Google Cloud Build need to be vigilant and implement cloud detection and response capabilities to identify anomalies and reduce the risk of potential supply chain attacks.

 

In response to the discovery, a Google spokesperson expressed appreciation for the researchers’ efforts and confirmed that a fix based on their report had been incorporated in a security bulletin issued in early June. Google also emphasized its commitment to identifying and addressing vulnerabilities through its Vulnerability Rewards Program.



As I wrap up this month’s breach blog, I must address IBM Security’s annual “Cost of a Data Breach Report.” The report reveals that the global average cost of a data breach has reached an all-time high of $4.45 million in 2023, marking a 15% increase over the past three years. Below I’ve outlined key findings. 

 

Key Highlights From the Report:

 

AI and Automation Accelerate Breach Identification and Containment: Organizations extensively employing AI and automation experienced a significantly shorter data breach lifecycle, reducing it by 108 days compared to organizations not leveraging these technologies (214 days vs. 322 days). This reduction resulted in nearly $1.8 million in lower data breach costs, making AI and automation the most impactful cost-saving measures identified in the report.

 

Silence is Costly in Ransomware Attacks:

 

Ransomware victims who involved law enforcement in their response saved an average of $470,000 in breach costs compared to those who chose not to involve law enforcement. Despite this potential benefit, 37% of the ransomware victims studied did not engage law enforcement during an attack, leading to longer breach lifecycles and increased costs.

 

Detection Gaps Persist:

Only one-third of the studied breaches were discovered by the organization’s own security team, while 27% were disclosed by the attacker, and 40% were disclosed by neutral third parties like law enforcement. Breaches identified by the organizations themselves incurred nearly $1 million less in breach costs compared to those disclosed by the attackers. This is where conducting regular assessments comes into play. The report emphasizes that early detection and rapid response are crucial in reducing the impact of a breach. Organizations are encouraged to invest in threat detection and response approaches, to bolster their cybersecurity defenses.



While this month’s update is on the longer side, I hope you’ve learned and realized just how important conducting regular security checks is for your business and entire supply chain. Findings automates assessment and audit processes, to help you stay compliant, while ensuring that your supply chain is secure. 

 

 

 

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